I’m not sure if every writer has a pile of half written or partially outlined stories cluttering their documents folder or jotted down in random journals but for the ones who do, I have a piece of advice.
Play writers’ roulette occasionally.
To play all you have to do is open a random word file, or take an old notebook, or find one of those written on napkins you were saving for later, and write that story. Abandoned stories happen. Sometimes they happen a lot. But, they don’t have to be completely wasted and forgotten. Going back and searching through scraps – or even almost fully written stories – can help in the following ways:
Have you ever gone through your unfinished stories and thought, “when did I write this”? Who knows what ideas you might have forgotten over the years or what gems you might have hidden in plain sight. Picking a file at random could uncover a world of ideas. Although, I must warn you, taking a step back and rediscovering a few of your files could end with utter frustrating if you hit that “where was I going with this” moment.
Sometimes an idea won’t come. You may have great characters but nothing for them to do. Going back into a random file could be life support for a new story. You might hate everything about that old story you find, but in it find pieces that provide useful to another story. Just the act of looking back at one of your stories possibly will spark an idea in your mind. New or recycled.
Absence makes the heart grow fonder. Pardon the cliché, but it’s apt. Working on the same novel or story day after day can make the creative gears start to grind slightly slower. Taking a day off to work on something else is good for clearing your mind and recharging those creative batteries.
So, if you find yourself having a slow writing day or wanting to have a break and try something new, take a gamble and play a round of writers’ roulette.